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Teradata Jumps Ahead: Flexible Licensing Choices Change Everything

Teradata Jumps Ahead: Flexible Licensing Choices Change Everything

We are always looking for simpler, easier ways to stay ahead of change. For example, we all need to update software, and recently I needed to move some software from an old PC to my new one. Was it that simple? Not so much. The problem was a licensing constraint: the license was only good for one system -- not one at a time, but a specific system itself! In order to run on my new system I would need to purchase a new license.

There has got to be a better way.

I guess I should not have been too surprised; for decades, computer software has been sold with an outdated mindset. But all that is slowly changing.

I am happy to tell you that Teradata is jumping ahead of change with an innovative, simplified new licensing approach. For years, database software was, admittedly, hard to purchase. It was dependent on the platform, what features you wanted, and it required up-front costs with ongoing maintenance. This model once sufficed but … that was then – this is now.

So what needed to change?

As the world of cloud offerings expanded, Teradata responded in 2016 with a new innovation: “Teradata Everywhere,” making the same Teradata Database available across the spectrum of deployment options: from physical on-premises hardware and private VMware clouds, to our own managed cloud offering and both Amazon and Azure public clouds. This was a great step for Teradata but it exposed an issue with our licensing - lack of consistency and portability.

At the same time, Teradata was also dealing with data warehouse appliance challenges. In order to meet the needs of entry level users, enterprise class warehouses and everything in-between, Teradata began to license each feature separately. The thought being: if you aren’t going to use it, why should you buy it? Unfortunately that made features availability inconsistent, which caused problems when a corporation had multiple platforms of different types in their ecosystem.

The new way of doing business!

To address these challenges, Teradata has significantly revamped the way its data and analytics software will be licensed to make it simpler, uniquely portable, and entirely consistent. The end result will make it much easier to do business with Teradata and expand the ability of customers to leverage Teradata not only on premises but also in various cloud offerings.


Teradata’s new licensing model is simple and straight forward. Previously separate features are now bundled together. This means all licenses come with Columnar, Temporal, Row Level Security and Secure Zones. These are powerful features that allow for high performance, greater time-based analytics, and robust data governance.

The new model also allows for different business capacity. Starting with a free developer tier, there are also three workload based tiers: base, advanced, and enterprise. Companies can now purchase the capability they need now, and as those needs change can simply upgrade to the next tier without hassles.


Bundled features are nice, but what happens when you need to go from one deployment platform to another? For example, you start with a managed cloud implementation and then decide to bring it in-house to an on-premises system? Teradata is becoming the only company to allow the licenses to be 100% portable, meaning they can be moved around freely from one deployment option to another. Eventually, Teradata will take that model to the logical conclusion of “Bring-your-own-license (BYOL)” to the public cloud.


Part of enabling that portability is having consistency between the platforms – for example: how much cloud capability is equivalent to how much on-premises capability? This required Teradata to launch a capability metric, called TCore. This metric is unique in that it takes into consideration not only the number of CPU cores available, but also the input/output (I/O) available to each core. This benefits customers by adjusting the licensing cost according to the performance potential of the system on which they are running.

A second aspect of consistency is understanding cost over time. Teradata has moved from the high up-front cost of perpetual licenses to the lower up-front and more predictable subscription-based licenses. This is directly in line with how people are starting to buy software in the cloud and how they want to buy software across the corporation.

When business is easy, business gets done

By providing a simple, portable and consistent licensing model, companies can now more quickly obtain and leverage all the capabilities of the Teradata Database to ensure a faster time to market and much better business results.

Portrait of Rob Armstrong

Rob Armstrong

Starting with Teradata in 1987, Rob Armstrong has contributed in virtually every aspect of the data warehouse and analytical processing arenas. Rob’s work in the computer industry has been dedicated to data-driven business improvement and more effective business decisions and execution.  Roles have encompassed the design, justification, implementation and evolution of enterprise data warehouses.

In his current role, Rob continues the Teradata tradition of integrating data and enabling end-user access for true self-driven analysis and data-driven actions. Increasingly, he incorporates the world of non-traditional “big data” into the analytical process.  He also has expanded the technology environment beyond the on-premises data center to include the world of public and private clouds to create a total analytic ecosystem.

Rob earned a B.A. degree in Management Science with an emphasis in mathematics and relational theory at the University of California, San Diego. He resides and works from San Diego.

View all posts by Rob Armstrong

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